Sunscreen 101 How to Pick the Best Product for Your Skin
At Pristine Laser Center, we care about your skin. Sunscreen is a key tool in the fight against sun damage. There are hundreds of sunscreen products on the market these days. Trying to choose the best one for you and your family can sometimes been a daunting task. There are even safety concerns about the type of ingredients found in most common sunscreens, making the choice even more confusing. Because of all the confusion, here is a short summary of the types of sunscreens available and their pros and cons.
The most popular sunscreens on the market today are so-called “organic” sunscreens. They get their name because they use carbon as their main ingredient to defend against sun damage. Some examples of “organic” sunscreens include most Coppertone and Banana Boat products. The way these sunscreens work is by absorbing harmful UV rays before they penetrate deep into our skin. Sounds like a good idea but unfortunately there is a downside. Oxybenzone, a common ingredient in these “organic” sunscreens has been found to disrupt hormones to potential harmful levels in the human body. This ingredient along with other common “organic sunscreen ingredients such as octocrylene and octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC) have also been found to become unstable when they absorb UV light resulting in the formation of reactive oxygen species (otherwise known as “free radicals”) which have actually been linked to causing skin cancer and accelerating the aging process in our skin! The creation of these reactive oxygen species is diminished by proper re-application of the “organic” sunscreens as directed by the labeling of these sunscreens. This makes it critical to always read the directions thoroughly before using any sunscreen products and to follow them precisely for the best results. If you are going to go with an organic sunscreen, it is also important to make sure there are antioxidants in it which will also help against the damaging effects of these reactive oxygen species. These antioxidants are usually found listed under the “inactive ingredients” section of the sunscreen bottle and go by names such as sodium ascorbyl phosphate, tocopherol, tocopheryl acetate, or diethylhexyl syringylidenemalonate.
Another type of sunscreen is non-organic, mineral-based sunscreens which typically contain coated titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide as their main ingredients. Some examples of these types of sunscreens include California Baby or Badgers products. These mineral-based sunscreens work mainly by reflecting the UVA and UVB rays from the skin. This is why mineral-based sunscreens leave a white, greasy film on the skin which most people do not enjoy. Regular mineral-based sunscreens do not produce the reactive oxygen species like “organic” sunscreens do because they do not absorb UV rays into the skin. There are some “nano” formulations of mineral sunscreens that do not leave as bad of a white film on the skin but these also do not reflect UV light as effectively and actually absorb some UV light into the skin, meaning they too can produce the harmful reactive oxygen species.
No matter which sunscreen you choose to use, “organic” or mineral-based, the SPF rating is important. Sunscreen with SPF values in the range of 30 to 50 will offer the best sunburn protection, even for people most sensitive to sunburn, when applied correctly. It is also important to remember that proper coverage such as hats and sun-protective clothing is another safe and effective way to prevent skin damage. Spring, summer, fall, or winter, any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen. Choose wisely!
Pristine Laser Center proudly serves Orlando, Lake Mary, Oviedo, Winter Springs, Casselberry, Winter Park, Dr Phillips, Sanford, Altamonte Springs, Maitland, Wekiwa Springs, Longwood, Deland, Deltona, Clermont, Ocoee, Kissimmee, Melbourne, Titusville, Daytona Beach, and Central Florida areas.
Disclaimer: The material presented here is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice or recommendation. Please check with your physician.